Will drivers try to cheat 520 tolls?on January 3, 2012 @ 9:01 am (Updated: 11:00 am - 1/3/12 )
Will some drivers try to avoid tolls by cheating the system? (Image courtesy WSDOT)
Washington transportation officials say traffic this week will be the first true test of the effect of new tolls on 520. Many drivers are expected to take alternate routes to avoid tolls, but will there be some that try to avoid the fee by cheating the system?
"I'm sure there will be a number of different people that are trying to somehow hoodwink the system," said 97.3 KIRO FM's John Curley.
Tolling on the 520 bridge is all electronic. Drivers with a Good to Go pass will have the toll amount deducted from their account, and those without a pass will be billed by mail.
Curley and crew discussed different techniques they've heard of to get around the license plate identification. A newer idea they found intriguing was an $18 spray product that claims it will throw a glare back at the camera.
"PhotoBlocker is a spray that just makes your license plate that much brighter, so when the camera hits it, it beams back the reflection," explained Curley.
Watch a promo for PhotoBlocker spray:
But Seattle Weekly reports such sprays reportedly won't work on the 520 tolls.
Patty Rubstello, the Director of Tolling Systems at the Washington State Department of Transportation, told the Seattle Weekly that any plates not picked up by the camera will go to human review.
"They can see through tactics people use to cover it up," Rubstello said.
But Curley said a loose plate on his car when he was 16-years-old gave him the idea of setting up a wire tied to the plate, that in theory, could keep plate information from being read, even by the human eye.
"With a simple pull back and forth on the wire it causes the plate to flip up in the air," said Curley.
A similar technique was used in the 1981 film "The Cannon Ball Run." (Look for trick at 7:21)
Curley said he never set up the system for himself, thinking if it were discovered by police, he could be in some serious trouble.
And while Curley and team discussed the methods on the program, they say they in no way condone skipping out on the tolls.
By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor
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